Livestreaming has become a huge trend in China, particularly among mobile-savvy millennials who crave interactive, real-time content. Brands are trying to get on the bandwagon: 69% of Beauty brands tracked by L2 livestream content, and many e-tailers use livestreaming to encourage impulse shopping.

To succeed, however, brands need to think strategically about how they incorporate livestreaming into their marketing tactics. Here are a few tips from L2’s The Rise of Livestreaming report:

Find a Balance: Hiring celebrities to host livestreams can provide a huge boost in reach. Brands featuring a celebrity or online influencer in their Tmall livestream received eight times more engagement; when Pure & Mild included popular actress Zhao LiYing in a product launch livestreamed on Tmall, the event garnered 28.9 million interactions. However, celebrities are expensive, and brands need to think carefully about the cost involved.

Build Anticipation: While livestreaming takes place in real time, getting viewers to tune in requires thoughtful promotion in the days leading up to the event. Brands can create anticipation by turning to influencers, as well as their own channels. For example, Origins launched a successful Tmall livestreaming event featuring actor Shawn Dou (窦骁) as part of its #NeverStopDiscovering# campaign (#探索不止#). Before the event, Origins posted on Weibo asking followers to guess the identity of the celebrity host and incentivizing reposts with a chance to win free products; once his identity was revealed, the actor promoted the event on his personal Weibo account to drive participation from his fan base.

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These efforts significantly boosted engagement. The post asking fans to guess the identity of the Tmall livestream celebrity host generated 34,373 interactions, nearly 13 times Origins’ average post engagement. And the day before the event, the brand’s Weibo Index (a measure of brand conversations on the social platform) skyrocketed to 11,691—24 times the Q3 2016 average.

Think Big Picture: Livestreaming should be seen as part of a larger marketing campaign, rather than a one-time event. After a successful broadcast on streaming platform Meipai, SK-II capitalized on its momentum by posting backstage video clips and other content to promote its Tmall Super Brand Day. The result was not only tremendous online engagement, but also higher sales of the brand’s new R.N.A. Power Eye Cream.

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